weather looked uplifting for a late winter / early spring Saturday
(low 60's for temps). The Pawnee National Grasslands would be a
relaxing day with wide vistas to stretch the eyeballs. A nice group of
five vehicles met in Ault for an easy ramble about the public areas of
the grasslands (the below two green blocks are a mix of public and
private so a detail map is needed to stay on public lands). We visited
some of the windmills (water spots for cattle) with a stop at Crow
Valley Hill / Wiggins Telephone tower - the highest elevation for the
day. The last stop for the trip was the old missile launch location (an
above ground facility). Where I was expecting an empty location, it was
filled with cars and people. A model rocket group was launching
rockets. It was fun watching the process (video).
The gravel portion of the day was 35 miles with a time of 2h49m. Some of the group spent an additional hour watching model rocket launches.
|East of Ault - the views open up. Scant few
|The Phillips Windmill
|Just a bit of snow left in the water tank
|Most tanks have some sort of ramp for small
animals to use to get out of the water - this tank has a ramp near the
water fill. The expanded metal / mesh near the bottom left of the
picture is another type of ramp that some tanks use - this one has
fallen / not usable.
|To our west were the moutains - a bit hazy
|Longs Peak, the highest - just left of center.
Rocky Mountain National Park at the right edge of the picture.
|Only what is needed - a windmill to convert
wind entergy into mechanical energy to lift water out of the well and
into the water tank. A sturdy fence around the windmill tower and water
piple to keep cattle from rubbing against it and damaging it. A sturdy,
low sided tank to hold a bit of water. Some concrete around the tank to
keep erosion in check.
|Not the most pleasant looking water
I wonder if a house was on this location at some point. It is rare to see a tree in the plains. Often, trees are only found near water sources (streams) or where people live (houses).
This windmill, on a bit of a hill, fills a black plastic lined 'pool' with sloping sides. One rabbit wasn't able to make it out. I believe the pool has piping at the base to drain water down the hill to a nearby watering tank. This location is fenced - no cattle can get in (or if they could, would not be able to drink from the sloped pool).
|`wish I had a photo of the whole pool. Only a
bit of the black plastic / rubber is visible here with the dead rabbit.
|The radio tower atop the Crow Valley Hill. The
sign on the equipment building says Wiggins Telephone. Wiggins Colorado
is a small town about 30 miles southeast of here.
|From the north, looking south towards the
radio tower. Lower portion of the photo - a fenced in area with trees.
I wonder if a house was here at some time. Gilney Windmill in the
|The largest bit of snow for the day
Click for a much larger picture
Looking north / northeast from Crow Valley Hill
This is shorter than typical
|A new watering tank. Some of the tanks
do not have windmills nearby. They must be filled via a nearby electric
pump. Some of them do have flotation water valves - much like a toilet
|An unexpected sight. The grasslands are used
for cattle grazing.
|This was a bit unexpected - it was picked
clean on the inside. I wonder what type of critters enjoyed the feast.
|At the old missile site - model rocket
(video quality is only so/so - I pointed the phone "in the general direction".
Some rocket action was off-screen but enough is good so here you go...)